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Rain doesn’t dampen Employee Appreciation Day fun

  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Charlotte Tabb (center), who was honored for her 15 years of service to W&M, poses with colleagues during the annual Employee Appreciation Day luncheon on May 24.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  An employee embraces the Griffin, W&M's mascot, during the luncheon event.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Jim Barbour (left) poses for a photo with the Griffin and W&M President Taylor Reveley (right). Barbour, a W&M police officer, was honored for 50 years of service to W&M.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Employees pose with the Griffin for a photo at the event.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Employees enjoy a buffet lunch at the event with family members.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Volunteers help give door prizes away at the luncheon.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Robert (Lee) Conder, poses with the Griffin and the certificate he received for 35 years of service to W&M.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Although a steady rain forced William & Mary’s Employee Appreciation Day luncheon indoors, the weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the College’s staff members as they gathered to be celebrated for their work.

Hundreds of W&M employees made their way under raincoats and umbrellas to the Commons Dining Hall on Friday for the annual event, which included music, a lunch buffet and door prizes. Staff members celebrating milestone anniversaries at the College – from five to 55 years – also received certificates of recognition and other gifts at the event.

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President Taylor Reveley donned a bow tie and joined the Griffin in posing for photos with staff members. Employees created box lunches from a buffet offering chicken, fish, fruit, salad, cookies and other goodies. Staff members with Dining Services kept the food coming, delivering fresh bowls of fruit salad and carts topped with pitchers of lemonade to the busy buffet line while dancing and singing along to the tunes that filled the space, including Michael Jackson’s classic “Billie Jean.”

For Destiny Elliott, a finance manager for the psychology department who has worked at W&M for about seven years, the event was a family affair. She brought her nearly two-year-old son and met her mother, Jean Brown, at the luncheon. Brown, a program administrator for the American studies program, has worked at W&M for about 22 years, and Elliot spent a lot of time during her childhood on the campus. She said that she enjoys Employee Appreciation Day because it gives her a chance to now bring her son to the campus and get to see people from across W&M.

“I like to come out here and see a lot of people I haven’t seen and bring my son out,” she said. “I did not know that it was going to rain, but it’s still okay.”

Jim Davis, a lead payroll and human resources consultant, was one of the employees honored for reaching a milestone anniversary at the College. He has worked for W&M for 15 years.

“It’s just nice to be recognized for your years of service and the work you put in,” he said.

Davis said that Employee Appreciation Day is always enjoyable, especially when the weather allows it to be held outdoors. Aside from offering him a free lunch, the day also gives him a chance to put faces to the names he sees in the paperwork that crosses his desk, he said.

At the door, volunteers from the professional and instructional faculty greeted staff members and directed them to the buffet line and prize pick-up area.

Ed Irish, director of financial aid, was among the volunteers, handing out complimentary flashlights and bowling coupons as staff members entered the dining hall, shaking the rain off of their clothes.

“I think it is a great event,” he said. “People here do a lot of work for the College. They deserve to be rewarded.”

Sharron Gatling, assistant director of equal opportunity, also volunteered for the event, handing out door prizes. Gatling, who also serves as the president of the Professionals and Professional Faculty Assembly, said that the event provides an opportunity for all of the College’s employees to come together.

"I believe that we all are one, and it helps to bridge the gap between staff and professional – we are all professionals in our jobs,” she said.

Gatling, who started her career at W&M as a classified staff member, said that she had always enjoyed Employee Appreciation Day.

“I really enjoy the excitement of it and the feeling that, yeah, you do appreciate me. You do see what I do,” she said. “We couldn’t be as strong as we are now without you.”